Category Archives: Triathlon

A Spanish Triathlon

I started working on making a photo book from my recent trip to Spain with a group of 8th graders. It has already been over a month since we’ve been back and I’m trying to get a 50% coupon, so the clock is on! It brought back some fun memories and many reasons to want to be back!! I went running 2 different times, one while we were in Madrid and once while we were Benalmadina along the coast. I’ll get around to posting some pictures eventually! On my run along the beach I went West as far as the boardwalk would take me and then ran as far East as it went. It ended in a marina. As I was running I noticed a lot of markers and signs. So I grabbed a quick picture of one and even with my limited Spanish knew what it was… a triathlon! 50f767ff-852d-4a0d-b1b6-c09d01126612_pIt started later in the day and I was doubtful that we’d get to see any of it. It was actually a free day, so if I had known about it and had been training, I might have been able to compete. Nevertheless, I did some research and found it online. It was the II TRIATLON DE BENALMADENA, a 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike, and 5 kilometer run event. As we left our hotel to begin our events for the day, I noticed policia up and down the main road and they were beginning to block off the course. I was hopeful we’d get to see the bikers as they came past. We weren’t able to find a cambio to exchange our dollars so we ended up wasting a lot of time, which turned out to be a good thing. Just as we reached the turn around point the lead motorcycle went zooming by. I was fretting the decision of trying to get the kids to stop and stand around a bit to watch, but they all seemed happy to do so. We waited and watched for 10-15 minutes as the riders came by. We probably left before the mid-pack triathletes came by, but it was fun to watch and cheer them on! It definitely made me want to compete and think about getting back into swimming.

Buffalo Triathlon Results 2013

buffalo tri results 2013

 

7 minutes slower than last year, which isn’t bad considering my training this year was almost non-existent.  I was hoping to have been in shape when Caleb was born in March.  Had I been in shape the transition wouldn’t have been as hard and I might have had more desire to survive to long cold spring in training!  As it were my training program started right when he was born and I struggled to get to the pool consistently or on the bike much at all.  I’ve relied on my bike commuting for most of my training in the past, but that just didn’t happen with the cold snowy spring and I had about a month where I could commute with Nadia before I started taking Caleb to day care too.

Cheering Squad

I finally got around to stealing pictures from Minnefoto Moments from my Square Lake Triathlon and noticed that my wife is in the background of one of my pictures (seen below).

She’s the lady leaning over pointing.  She had Nadia in the stroller!  Thanks for cheering me on!

Buffalo Triathlon – Completed

Here are the stats:

Time

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Splits

Run 22:11
Bike 41:11
Swim 8:20

Overall Place 180 out of 953
Sex Place 143 out of 532 Males
Division Place 28 out of 78 Males in the M3034 Age Group

Overall I felt really good.  The swim is still my weakest link.

Ready For Buffalo w/ NadiaSwim: 400 yards – 8:20 Overall 275/953 Age Group 36/78

I started at the back and to the left of the main pack hoping for a straighter line around the first boat and to the bouy for the left hand turn.  As soon as we jumped into the water though I realized that I was behind some slower people and quickly fought my way past them and went out really hard.  I struggled with sighting to the first bouy and almost ran into a paddleboard/lifeguard.  Once we  made the left hand turn around the Swan it was mostly straight to the finish with Swans on the left.  It was a super crowded swim and I was constantly running into people and trying to get around them. I had to keep reminding myself to relax and settle into my stroke.  There was a lot of churn and I needed to focus on breathing.  The last stretch I felt like I was doing more looking around to avoid people than efficiently swimming.  As I came up out of the water I knew I had done a very strong swim and was feeling it a little.

Successes:

My time, holy cow! That’s way faster than any average workout I’ve done at the pool.   That is 2:05 per 100 and I don’t ever recall hitting that on any 100.  Wesuit was a good choice due to the churn making the water cooler.

Even Better If: 

Better sighting and bi-lateral breathing!

Coming out of the Swim - BuffaloT1: 3:02 Overall 267/951 Age Group 36/78

I was really wobbly coming out of the water.  I struggled to run or walk in a straight line.  My entire body wanted to go to the left.  I did fine getting my wetsuit off, but struggled trying to get my shoes on since my body was so out of balance. Once I got my shoes on and started run/walking my bike out I felt fine.

Even better if: I read more about transition setup and how to make T1 smoother.

Bike: 12.8 miles 41:11 Overall 267/951 Age Group 40/78

Leaving on the Bike - BuffaloAfter leaving transition and making it on to the main road I hit it pretty hard.  As we left town I was feeling good.  There were some gradual climbs initially that led into some steeper hills.  I think there were 5 main hills – ones that you’d hit 30mph going down and then be at like 10mph as you hit the top.  Race organizers touted this as a freshly paved fast course, which makes me wonder what it was like before.  It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t freshly paved either.  I know that last year they had to reroute the bike course due to construction so maybe some parts were newer and I just didn’t notice!  I passed my co-worker Lisa, part of a Team, right before the first big hill (at maybe mile 4 or 5).   I had a Gel pack about half way through.  The bike course basically made a square around the lake in a clockwise fashion.  The course was open to traffic but the only real traffic I remember was in Buffalo and they did a pretty good job of separating us from it and stopping the traffic at intersections.  A little over halfway through I was trying to shift back into the big gear on a downhill/flat and I couldn’t get it to go so I was left spinning.  I tried a few more times later and it still wouldn’t go.  I decided not to keep trying because I didn’t actually want to break anything.  When I got home it seems to shift fine, but I did break a rear wheel spoke somehow.  I know the two aren’t related, but it seems odd.  It was really frustrating to not be able to shift onto the big ring but I tried not to get discouraged and just kept hammering along.  It feels good to pass people with really expensive bikes!  Once we get back into town the route snakes through a couple of parking lots.  I thought we were getting ready to make the final turn back into the park and reached down to unsnap my shoes.  As we left the parking lot I realized we still had about a 1/2 mile to go.  Rookie mistake!  I didn’t do anything stupid and made it back to transition and dismounted without trouble.  About halfway through the ride I needed to pee.  I also felt thirsty.  I did drink to counteract the thirst but didn’t pee on the bike.

Successes:

A nice solid ride.  Average speed consistent with my training paces.  Felt strong over the duration.

Even better if:

I didn’t have bike problems.  I need to spend more training time on hills.

T2: 1:03 Overall 229/952 Age Group 36/78

This transition went much smoother.  As I noted I had already loosened my shoes so I popped off the bike and ran/walked it back to my rack.  The little downhill from the Olympic area to the Sprint area was a little awkward, but I found my rack slipped off my bike shoes and into my running shoes and off I went.

Run: 3 miles – 22:11 Overall 180/953  Age Group 28/78

The run felt really good.  I tried to find a bathroom so that I could take care of the pee problem but the port-a-pots were kind of blocked off.  Really it was that spectators were prevented from crossing the run area so I would have had to significantly back track to get to that set and I didn’t see any other ones on the course until I had a 1/2 mile left and at that point I just sucked it up.  I started the run out slowly to loosen up my legs.  We navigated out of Sturges park and through a parking lot to run alongside Lake Buffalo.  On the way out I saw Jeremy on the bike coming in (I think he saw me).  I got passed once or twice and passed a couple of people.  I was just trying to maintain a steady pace.  The sun came out and felt pretty warm during the run.  Right before the turn around point an Olympic distance runner went flying by.  I was a little surprised that I guy dressed like an elite runner would be so far back until he went running by the turn around point! On the way back I focused on slowly picking up the pace.  The run also got a little crowded on the narrow bike paths/sidewalks.  I saw Jeremy and then Hope  (the Team’s runner who also has an 8 week old at home). As we entered the park I really started picking it up again and right before the line I passed a Team FCA Endurance runner that had passed me early on during the run.

Successes:

Again, the time is pretty solid and a much better pace than my training runs would have indicated.  I’m also pleased with what seemed like a steady run that probably was a negative split.

Even Better If:

I’m not sure.  I know that I need to run more in training and do more brick workouts, but I feel pretty good about my run.

Breaking Down Square Lake

Last fall when I was recapping my first triathlon the data wasn’t available because Frontrunner Events hadn’t posted the results even a month later.  I looked back as I was setting up my 2012 goal post and finally found the results (though it wasn’t easy).

Here is the breakdown:

150/322 Total Finishers

103/188 Male Finishers
18/27 Division Finishers
Swim: (1/2 mile)
        Time: 17:14
        Place: 159
        Pace: 1:58/100yds
T1: 3:41
Bike: (18 miles)
     Time: 54:23
     Place: 167
     Pace: 19.9 mph
T2: 1:09
Run: (5 miles)
     Time: 42:05
     Place: 133
     Pace: 8:25 min/mile
Total: 1:58:31

Race Review: Square Lake Triathlon – Short Course


I am a triathlete!

 


I finished my first swim, bike, and run event ever.  A half mile swim, 16.5 mile bike, and 5 mile run were served up on a pretty near perfect weather day on Saturday.  Square Lake Short Course got started with a day in the mid-50’s as I drove to the race and it warmed up as the day went on.  The water was smooth and a perfect temperature and there was no wind on the course to affect bike or running times.  The only obstacle – having been sick all week.

As I thought about my goals for the race during the last month I had decided on two:

  1. Finish – always a good goal for any first time event especially one like a triathlon or marathon.
  2. Break 2 hours – I figured about 15-20 minute swim, about an hour bike, and 45 minute run (all seemed reasonable) would give me a good chance of getting under two hours.

 

Square Lake Swag

Image by crossn81 via Flickr

I was feeling confident in my training and then on Tuesday I started getting that flu/aching feeling in my back.  I took Wednesday and the morning of Thursday off work and was feeling pretty good.  By the end of a full work day on Friday I was feeling worse.  I wrote to some friends on Facebook that I was 95% sure I wasn’t going to race.   I set my alarm for 5am Saturday hoping and praying for that 5%.  After hitting snooze once (who really wants to get up at 5am) I decided that I would pack my gear and see how I felt.  I wasn’t feeling perfect but I decided to go for it and see what would happen.  I walked into the race with no expectations, just hoping to finish.

I picked up my number, shirt, and swim cap; got my race number markings and setup my transition area.  And waited.  I finally decided it was time to get ready, figured out the borrowed wetsuit.  I had planned on trying it out once during my last swim, but getting sick didn’t allow for that.  I had to ask for help in zipping it, because the zipper started at the top.  Once on it was very snug.  After the final instructions, we watched the elite wave go off.  Wait for 3 more minutes.

Square Lake Tri

I positioned myself at the back of the wave, my calves barely wet (knee deep was where most people were).  After he shouted go I waded and then jumped in.  What a weird feeling wearing a swim cap and wet suit.  I’ve never actually worn either!  I had some problems with my goggles sealing on my face.  But did finally get them settled on properly.  I wasn’t pushing super hard, I knew the swim would be the hardest and most punishing for my sick body.  I felt almost like I was floating through the water (not quite like a torpedo).  Some guy went back and forth in front of me a few times which was annoying and I slowly made my way to the first turn.  The course was pretty much a square.   I don’t think I swam the most direct route possible, but did a fairly good job of sighting.   The short top part and then turning to shore.  My friend Mike and warned me that the sun would make it hard to sight on the way back to shore, but to keep using the buoy to sight instead of the beach.  At some point some guy tried to swim over top of me, probably from the wave behind.  I started seeing swim caps from the wave before and the wave behind me.  As I started being able to see the floor of the lake again a guy from the wave behind me started passing on my left (my breathing side) so I watched to see when he would stand up and did about the same thing.  Jogged out of the water, hit the mat (about 16:45 on my watch), and started taking my wet suit off.

I had planned on using my Ironman timex to at least roughly get my splits throughout the morning.  But it appears I didn’t actually hit the “split” button until the end of my bike leg.  So that was a little frustrating to realize afterwards.

I hadn’t planned on super quick transitions so I took my time climbing the steps to the transition area.  Switched into my bike gear and headed out!

I didn’t use my Garmin, but created course maps using Dailymile.  The race distances seemed pretty accurate.

I didn’t do any fancy mount or dismount for the bike, I just wanted to make sure I got on and off! I did blow a nice snot rocket full of snot and lake water shortly after starting the ride.  I felt surprisingly good on the bike as we went up and down the hills.  I shifted gears a lot and caught people on the uphills, some would pass me back on the downhills.  The course was pretty straightforward.  It was fun to watch the faster people go past and check out their bikes and also to see how the rode as they got into groups and rode several wide.  Most of the ride was on county back roads, but the section along MN-95 was awesome.  Newer pavement means faster riding! Except for the big hill at about mile 14.   The scenery could have been beautiful, but was mostly unexciting (its been a little dry) and you couldn’t see the St. Croix River through the trees.  At a couple of points volunteers were stationed to specifically tell us to slow down.  One was a big hill with turns at the bottom and the second was a smaller hill that ended with some turns going under a train trestle.

I stayed hydrated drinking most of 2 bottles (water and Nuun-filled water).  And I took one gu while on the bike.  I probably didn’t need that much nutrition/hydration but I wanted to stay on top of things since I was still sick.  I was quite pleased with how I felt overall.  The road from 95 back to the transition area was a beat up old road with lots of cracks, dips, and crevices.  It made for a little more work coming back.

My “split” for this part of the race was under an hour.  My watch says 1:15 for the combined swim, T1, and bike legs.  (as of this moment results haven’t been posted).  The only time besides coming out of the water that I looked at my watch was for  mile splits during the run.  I did use my bike computer, but that just showed speed and distance.

The run was going to be interesting. I took a pull of water from my bottle before throwing back on my transition towel and jogged to the exit. Crossed the line – grabbed a cup of water and left the park onto the roads.  The first mile was on a paved road before turning off onto a gravel road.  It was gravel for a little bit and then was pavement the rest of the way.  There were water stations setup near miles 1, 2, and 3 and mile markers setup for those miles as well.  Mile marker 4 seemed to be missing.  The run had a couple of hills, nothing super hard but enough to make you change your stride and focus on the hill.

I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d be able to finish the run.  I started out slow letting the blood move around and the muscles to get used to the idea of running again.  I also had some weird pains in my side and back that hung around for most of the run.  I came through the first mile at 8:43 and felt really comfortable.  I took water at every aid station, took a sip and threw the rest on my head to cool off – it wasn’t super hot, but warm enough.  At the second aid station, the kids were filling the cups all the way to the top.  This made it a little messy, but you can’t complain about cool water splashing around!  I came through mile 2 at 8:26.  I still felt pretty comfortable and started thinking about trying to average 8:30 pace for the run.  There was one hill on  a nice shaded part that hurt a little more and slowed my third mile down to 8:41.  From here we turned back onto the main road.  It wasn’t really shaded but I didn’t feel super hot or like I was baking.  At about mile 4 I caught up to my friend Mike.

I caught up to him and said “good job Mike.”  He looked at me for a second and said, “Damn you caught me.”  I apologized and continued running.  Some where in here a lady’s Garmin beeped the 4 mile mark though it wasn’t marked.  My watch said 8:43 or something like that!  I don’t really remember picking up the pace but steadily continuing towards the finish.  Mike passed me back and we kind of ran together-ish for the rest of the race.  As we turned back into the transition area we had a little hill to go up and then downhill to the finish.  I passed Mike on the up-hill and opened up the legs for the down-hill finish.  The last 50-75 yards were fairly steep and I was gaining on a guy so I kicked it down another notch and passed the guy with like 10 yards to go.  I heard my name announced, heard the finish line beep, and I was a triathlete.

TransitionI saw 2:01:19 when I crossed the finish line and thought, crap so close to the 2 hour goal.  Then I looked at my watch 1:58:21.  Oh yea, 3 minute difference from the clock for the wave start.  Awesome!! That made me feel even better!

I ended Saturday still feeling under the weather, but being a triathlete makes it ok!  My support crew was also sick so there aren’t any pictures of me from the race.  Just the few I snapped before hand (and my transition area afterwards).  I’ll see about the race photos!  Nadia even had a cute “triathlete” shirt that she was ready to wear.

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